Wisconsin Sees Increased Child Labor Complaints

State officials say Wisconsin has seen an upward trend in child labor complaints since 2018, while the U.S. Labor Department says its seen a 69 percent increase in cases of children being illegally employed during the same period.

The federal government is currently investigating over 600 cases of possible child labor exploitation. In the last fiscal year alone, the Department of Labor identified 835 companies operating in violation of child labor laws affecting 3,800 children, and saw a 26 percent increase in minors employed in hazardous occupations.

Violations can vary from children working more hours than allowed under law, to working with prohibited equipment or working in industries that they shouldn’t be.

Federal officials last week announced new efforts to combat the rise in child labor exploitation through a partnership between the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They also called on Congress to increase financial penalties for child labor violations and to boost funding for enforcement of child labor laws.